Digitextual Modernism: Digital Remediation of Modernist Poetry
AdvisorClarke, Michael Tavel
Committee MemberBourrier, Karen
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Abstract“Digitextual Modernism” is an exploratory case-study in how digital remediation influences the development of meaning in Modernist poetry. As has been well established in previous scholarship, much of Modernist poetry is exemplary for intertextual theories of semiotics, and digital media likewise are structured upon and heavily influenced by intertextuality in particular, and Modernist theories and poetics broadly. As such, this study posits that various Modernist poems, when digitized, reflect upon their digital mediations and proffer unique intertextual readings beyond or in contrast to “traditional” readings that are largely reliant on the codex. Using the poetry of three authors of relatively disparate styles – Marianne Moore’s “An Octopus” and “The Fish,” T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and W. B. Yeats’s “The Wanderings of Oisin” – this study examines Web-based mediations of the poetry to provide evidence for a long-held but largely underexamined assumption: digital media fundamentally changes or augments the hermeneutic process in reading Modernist poetry. This is accomplished by examining the engagements with intertextual semiotics in each poem, reading the poems in digital media, and considering the theoretical influence of digital media on the intertextuality at play in these readings, as well as analyzing the ways that the poetry critiques digital media. Particular attention is given to “distracted” reading practices, intertextuality between code and rendered text, algorithmic mechanisms of control on intertextuality, and skeuomorphic authenticity. The study concludes with a Coda that brings together “High” Modernists broadly to consider the phantasmagoria of Modernist Facebook profiles in light of the nigh-ubiquitously paradoxical attitude of these authors about the relationship of the author and/or authorial biography to her writing.
CitationBest, W. (2021). Digitextual modernism: digital remediation of modernist poetry (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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